It’s been eight years since I was last home for Christmas. The Kurzyp family isn’t a fan of commercial holidays. We avoid Amazon gift voucher exchanges and hanging our stockings on the mantle, preferring to organise gatherings mid-year.
I usually spend months leading up to Christmas explaining why I don’t celebrate the silly season and that I’m O.K at home in my apartment without Turkey and all the trimmings. But I felt like it would be too hard to brush off the inevitable “what are your family’s plans” talk this year. So I let everyone know I’d be making the 50-minute flight down to Tasmania and prepared myself for our little family get together, or so I thought.
Apparently, it’s not enough to spend time with your family during the festive season, you have to spend “quality time”. And that means gathering your whole family together and doing something special and cheesy. Picture: awkwardly-posed family photos with everyone wearing a woollen jumper with Santa Claus on it. Or playing Monopoly into the wee hours of the morning at a ski lodge because you enjoy everyone’s company so much.
Every family has their own traditions, but when I was recently asked about mine, I shrugged and said: “we don’t have any”. We don’t have a regular holiday destination, a favourite restaurant or a much-loved story about the time Uncle Bob did so and so. Concerned with how we were going to spend our time together, I messaged my brother and asked him what our family traditions were. Minutes later, I received an extensive list of possibilities. It was then I realised the Kurzyp’s do have family traditions they just aren’t your usual 90’s movie-type ones.
There’s sitting down together to eat our world famous Fish Cake Sandwich made from Bird’s Eye Fish Cakes. Which are basically crumbed potato-filled cakes with a sprinkle of fish seasoning placed between layers of salad, toasted white bread and a generous squirt of tomato sauce. If we’re feeling fancy we add a fried egg or beetroot. (Don’t knock it till you try it).
Not to mention, our spare-of-the-moment road trips to Tasmania’s historic towns that look something like a Wes Craven film. We love running the risk of breaking down in some hick town where people pull their curtains aside and peer out at us from their homes, as tumbleweeds roll across the road and dogs howl in the distance. Would we have the balls to borrow their phone to call a tow truck? No one knows.
Then there’s the long-lived tradition or putting on our favourite movies and saying the actor’s lines before they do, preventing anyone else from enjoying the movie. Or staying up until 12.01am so we can be the first to wish each other Happy Birthday with an ugly selfie.
Let’s face it: all family traditions are a little weird to those who aren’t involved. But that’s because every tradition is unique. Your family traditions highlight how your family relates to one another, what you have in common and how you choose to express yourself. I wonder what our family traditions say about us?
I’ve always felt uneasy come December; pressured to partake in the traditional family-style gathering. But now I know I don’t have to. The Kurzyp family can do what we do best: avoid the pine-needle infested houses and Mariah Carey soundtrack, and instead, sit at home in our Pyjamas talking about how we’d never be so lame as to need a commercial holiday to bring us together, another honoured pastime.
What’s your family tradition? Do you feel pressured to create the perfect family get together at Christmas?
Featured image from Pexels.